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May 18, 2002

Fonsi Nieto On Pole For 250cc GP At Le Mans

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>Saturday 250cc GP Qualifying Results:<BR>1. Fonsi Nieto, Aprilia, 1:38.903<BR>2. Randy De Puniet, Aprilia, 1:39.391<BR>3. Roberto Locatelli, Aprilia, 1:39.506<BR>4. Marco Melandri, Aprilia, 1:39.570<BR>5. Toni Elias, Aprilia, 1:39.673<BR>6. Franco Battaini, Aprilia, 1:39.811<BR>7. Casey Stoner, Aprilia, 1:39.872<BR>8. Haruchika Aoki, Aprilia, 1:40.233<BR>9. Sebastian Porto, Yamaha, 1:40.234<BR>10. Naoki Matsudo, Yamaha, 1:40.340<BR>11. Alex Debon, Aprilia, 1:40.450<BR>12. Roberto Rolfo, Honda, 1:40.666<BR>13. Taro Sekiguchi, Yamaha, 1:40.791<BR>14. Shahrol Yuzy, Yamaha, 1:40.910<BR>15. Emilio Alzamora, Honda, 1:40.928<BR><BR>More from an Aprilia press release:<BR><BR>Marco Melandri makes front row with fourth fastest time.<BR><BR>Aprilia 250s take up the first seven places on the starting grid tomorrow.<BR><BR>The closing session of timed tests was truly exciting. Marco Melandri grabbed a place on the front row just as time was running out, in a battle against the other Aprilia riders who conquered the first three places, in the following order: Nieto, De Puniet and Locatelli. <BR><BR>Marco Melandri # 3 (MS APRILIA RACING) – 4st - 1'39.570<BR><BR>"We've solved some of the problems we've had in these first two days, but others remain. I'm finding it difficult to make direction changes and I'm beginning to think it must be because of the new frame. I've got this idea as today I felt and saw that I'm slower than in last year's races, when I was also held up by shoulder pain. In the previous races, there were some variations, such as the Welkom track which was slower than previously, and this prevented me from thinking I may truly have a problem with the new frame. As for my ankle, it's still bothering me, but if I do have problems, they'll only appear after mid-race. Even so, I think I'll be starting without resorting to pain-killers."<BR><BR>